For a Turk, a summer without fried eggplant is simply impossible, unheard-of. Along with other eggplant dishes such as stuffed eggplant “split belly” , or its vegetarian version, “imam fainted,” or roasted eggplant salad, fried eggplant honors our tables at least once every week. However, if you live or spend your summers on the coast, which is not very uncommon since Turkey is surrounded by seas (Aegean, the Marnara, Mediterranean, and the Black Sea), your eggplant intake might be daily; there’s something about coastal weather and eggplant. Fried eggplant is the easiest eggplant dish in Turkish cuisine. The simplicity should not deceive you; it is as delicious as any complicated eggplant dish. It’s always served either by a tomato or a yogurt sauce. Both sauces should be loaded with garlic.
Although this is a simple dish, there are a couple things to be careful about when cooking with eggplants. Buy eggplants right before you cook and pick the firmer ones. Eggplants tend to get soft in the refrigerator. Even though its skin is thick and sometimes bitter, do not peel it all the way; peel it lengthwise in 1/2 inch stripes. Once peeled eggplants darken fast. To prevent this you can take out the spongy middle part with seeds and keep eggplants in salty water until you cook them.
for 4 people 3 eggplants-I used regular American big eggplants, peeled as described, and diced (I prefer diced eggplants, but you can also cut them in 1/3 inch thick rounds or slices)
1-2 cups of frying oil (vegetable, corn, canola, etc.)
for tamato sauce
3-4 tomatoes, petite diced or grated (or 2 cans of diced tomato–it’s better if you put in a blender for a couple of seconds)
1 clove of garlic for each tomato (this is optional; you can use more or less garlic), minced
for garlicy yogurt sauce
2 cups any kind of plain yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
-Keep diced eggplant in a salty water until ready to fry them. Drain the water, squeeze eggplant, and pet them dry in a clean kitchen towel.
-Heat oil in a pot. When it’s really hot put eggplant in and fry in portions.
-Fry until golden brown.
-Put a paper towel at the bottom of a plate. Take out eggplant with a slotted spoon and put over the paper towel.
-For the tomato sauce, put grated tomato, minced garlic, and salt in a pot and cook for 20 minutes until tomato is cooked.
-For the garlicy yogurt sauce, beat minced garlic with yogurt.
-You can either pour the sauce on fried eggplant on the serving plate or on your plate, the choice is yours. But do not have it without sauce. What brings the beauty of this dish is definitely the garlic.
-Serve fried eggplant as a side with meat or rice. My favorite way to eat fried eggplant is to have in a fresh crusty bread. mmmmmm